[pct-l] [John Muir Trail] resupply strategy father & son JMT 2017

ned at mountaineducation.org ned at mountaineducation.org
Sun Feb 12 23:23:51 CST 2017

More snow coming in!


So what does this mean for this summer? Has the total snowfall for this winter exceeded that of 2011? If there were very few people on the JMT the end of July that year due to all the snow, how long will the snow remain covering the trail this year?


…and we have yet another series of snow storms about to hit the sierra!


Does this mean that people can’t hike the JMT this year? Of course, not! Unless new powder snow continues to fall into June, the snowpack will consolidate around May and make for easy snow-hiking. 


The issue will be how long it takes for this deep snowpack in the Sierra to completely thaw out! Hikers will have to deal with swiftwater creek crossings until most of the snow is gone, then the creeks will start to slow down and diminish in volume as the snow recedes to higher altitudes into August. 


This is the way it used to be “way back when.” It was a heavy winter back in 1982 when Mountain Education started teaching people about backcountry snow safety. I remember one winter weekend digging down to the 3rd story access door in the roofline apex of the Sierra Club’s Bradley Hut in the Five Lakes Basin near Alpine Meadows Ski Resort that year. There was 28 feet of snow on the ground and over that weekend we received another 5 feet (I’ll never forget digging out the car in the parking lot)!


I remember as a kid in the ‘60s my family would holiday in Lake Tahoe during the Christmas-New Year school break. I recall driving from the Bay Area to Tahoe City and I would notice, from my perch among the luggage in the back of the station wagon, that we were in the Donner Pass vicinity when we were driving through a tunnel on Highway 80. I remember many winters having to dig out the cars next to out rented cabin in Tahoe City because of all the snow. We could get to the front door of the cabins most of the time without digging stairs up the snowbank out of the parking area, then digging down to the front door. That was normal back then. We have forgotten this!


Backpacking in the Sierra started in July, as it still does, but we knew that we would have miles of snow hiking here and there. Even in early August, the prime-time to be in the Sierra, we expected snow on the passes. That was normal back then.


So, for all of you wanting to hike the JMT this summer, 

*	You can! It will be a breath-taking experience completely unlike any summer visit you’ve ever had there.
*	Prepare for snow hiking (balance and traction control and know safe ascent, descent, and traverse techniques).
*	Prepare for swiftwater creek crossings (STOP: Stop, Think, Observe, Plan! And you don’t have to cross on the trail!).
*	Anticipate flooded areas, wet feet, wet trails, and water falling down canyon wall from everywhere. 
*	Don’t expect the pack trains to get into the high country very early.
*	There may be a boot-track on the snow to follow, but know how to navigate over snow for your own safety.
*	Carry more food as snow-hiking can be very tiring and slow (plan for 1mph over snow)
*	Anticipate all kinds of weather.
*	Make wise decisions and carry a satellite communication device like the Iridium GO! or Delorme InReach.


Mountain Education will start teaching its Snow Advanced courses the end of April and will be publishing Trail/Snow Condition Reports to its FB page and school website after each week-long trip over Forester Pass.



Ned Tibbits, Director

Mountain Education, Inc.

 <mailto:ned at mountaineducation.org> ned at mountaineducation.org 


From: johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com] 
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 8:13 PM
To: johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [John Muir Trail] resupply strategy father & son JMT 2017



Looked up my dates from 2011 from old journals. It was July 23, 24 & 25th on a quick trip to Rae Lakes. We ran into the crew from Mile, Mile and A Half, but it was raining a lot and most of them were holed up in their tents. The fishing was fantastic though!! We lost count of how many we caught between Dollar Lake and Rae Lakes. Very few people out due to all the snow:) 



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